The all-party parliamentary group for beef and lamb has published its report on the “highly emotive” subject of meat slaughtered in accordance with religious rites.

Several areas where greater research is needed were identified in the report, which also makes recommendations on labelling and traceability, to help consumers from all communities make informed decisions when buying meat.

BVA president Robin Hargreaves said: “BVA has long held the position that slaughter without pre-stunning unnecessarily compromises animal welfare at the time of death. We are also concerned meat from non-stun slaughter is entering the market unlabelled because there is no requirement to label meat and meat products with the method of slaughter.

“We believe strongly food should be labelled as stunned or non-stunned and we are delighted the all-party group supports the BVA call for clearer labelling.

“The issue of non-stun slaughter continues to generate media and political interest, and rightly so. Scientific evidence shows slaughter without pre-stunning compromises animal welfare; a position supported by the Humane Slaughter Association, the Farm Animal Welfare Council, the Federation of Veterinarians of Europe and the European Food Safety Authority. We have a moral obligation to each animal we keep: any unnecessary pain should be eliminated.

“The all-party group’s inquiry also identified several areas where greater research is needed and we would welcome, in particular, further work to gather evidence on the recoverability of certain stunning methods to reassure some religious communities they are compatible with their requirements.

“BVA has been at the forefront of the campaign to ensure all animals are effectively stunned before slaughter and, with the support of the RSPCA, we launched a government e-petition calling for an end to non-stun slaughter on animal welfare grounds. We’ve reached more than 71,000 signatures already, but we hope to achieve 100,000 signatures so consideration will be given to a debate in the House of Commons.”

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